Kings and Tuskers show their prowess | Sunday Observer

Kings and Tuskers show their prowess

29 November, 2020

The excitement would have begun as this copy is being read. The long awaited Lanka Premier League (LPL) tournament which had suffered many hiccups would have been finally called ‘play.’ The first game between Colombo Kings and Kandy Tuskers was played on November 26 at the Mahinda Rakjapaksa International Cricket Stadium under lights at 7.30 pm.

Matches will be played daily other than on November 29, December 2, 6, 8, 12 and December 15, with the grand final on December 16.

Sri Lanka Cricket and especially all involved in the tournament from the locals, the foreigners and the participating players would have been apprehensive, wondering whether this tremendous undertaking would ever see the light of the day.

With the participants who were keen and looking forward to showcasing their immense talent in this style of ball game, the only hitch was the dreaded prevailing covd-19 that had everyone in fear.

But thanks to the youthful Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa who is himself a rugby international and national captain who was supported by the Health Minister Pavithtra Wanniarachi, her officials, Army Commander Lt. General Shaveendra Silva, Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of Covid-19 outbreak the LPL fell into place. With such support President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had no hesitation in allowing this path breaking first ever tournament to take the field.

This tournament at a time when morale is generally down has the promise to being the envy of all.

On the first day the opening ceremony was at 3.30 pm. The organizers kept the items in the ceremony a secret and indications are that it will be a grand one to savour.

Commenting on the first game it would have seen two of the hardest hitters of a cricket ball ‘Universe Boss’ Chris Gayle the majestic left handed ‘man mountain’ and his countryman another mauler in the right handed Andre Russell on show to produce their batting fireworks if they get going.

Gayle has quit playing for his country, but happily not in other circuits. But Gayle has sadly pulled out of this tournament giving as an excuse that he is suffering a pulled hamstring and would not be available.

Speculation is that the fear of the prevailing corona virus would have forced him to chicken out. Anyway the call is his.

Had Gayle played it would have been his batting that would have been enjoyed. If Gayle’s excuse of an injury is to be accepted well and good. If not it would not be wrong to call him not the ‘Universe Boss’, but the ‘Universe Loss’ or ‘Universe Fuss’. On the field it was obvious now that he is 41, he is slow and that his movements are restricted.

Any sportsman or woman would like to keep playing. But there comes a time although your mind is willing, your body gives you the message that, that far and no more. That is the time to quit.

One remembers what now Prime Minister of Pakistan and former Pakistan captain Imran Khan who led them to win the World Cup said: “You must go when they are asking why and why not”?. Words of wisdom. Gayle must have got Imran’s message and his pulling out of the Lanka Premier League could be a thought.

In the opening game between Colombo Kings and Kandy Tuskers the players who would have been keenly watched would have been Mathews the ‘Black Bradman’ of local cricket who has from the time he walked into the national team has performed his all-round abilities with great dedication.

Even the burden of captaincy did not weigh heavily on him. In fact he is credited of being the first Sri Lankan captain to win a Test series against England in Headingley, Leeds in a Test that went to the last over.

Former Sri Lankan captain Dinesh Chandimal will be another stylish right hand batsman to watch.

Many cricket fans are convinced that he was not treated right and his batting talent and captaincy was not recognized and given the all important experience to reach great heights. He is sure to use this tournament to hit hard at his critics.

Another bowler I would go along way to watch is right arm paceman Dhusmantha Chameera. A bowler with a lovely run-up and a rare delivery action, if he strikes a length he will be a difficult customer to deal with.

One hopes he has fully recovered from injury that was described as stress fractures the killer of all fast bowlers.

In the Kandy Tuskers side players worth watching are Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, the highly talented Seekkuge Prasanna leg spinning all rounder who hopes to make a successful come back and teasing left arm leg spinner Lasith Embuldenya.

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